Celebrating & Sharing
When youth participate in the Youthzones program part of their awakening of ambition is through learning and meeting other youth from other parts of South Africa to their own.
Through our experiences of working with youth across the country, we have learned that all the youth, regardless that they come from different ethnic groups share similar social problems and successes. In terms of development, its important that these youth can learn from each other and share ideas, struggles and celebrations in order to highlight our similarities where some are quick to point out differences.
Ethnic exchange enables youth to travel from across the country to Johannesburg before then traveling together to the Drakensberg mountains and embarking on a three day hike and sleeping in caves. This experience highlights to the youth that we are one, and stronger as a team than divided.
The youth at high risk, but have potential to be strong leaders, are harder to engage when they are in their comfort zone of their township. By taking them out of that space, and particularly into a challenging environment such as hiking within the Drakensberg, enables the youth to engage differently without having to put on a front. It’s a key breakthrough in terms of their own reflections on their life and the direction they want to take it in.
Through working with our founding partner, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Youthzones have been able to host a variety of Ethnic Exchange events, promoting Unity in Diversity of South Africa, with events such as U6 football and cricket teams from different sites playing together in Tarlton informal settlement; the Raloka Netball Tournament in which young women from across Youthzones sites in South Africa came together and learned and built friendships.